tv Public Affairs CSPAN January 30, 2013 5:00pm-8:00pm EST
but anybody they are responsible for, their children, elderly relatives, incapacitated family members. >> i see my time has expired. i have one question for mr. johnson. mr. johnson, according to fbi statistics, about 72% of the gun homicides committed each year in america are committed with handguns. 4% with rifles, 4% with shotguns, 1% with other firearms, and 18% unknown. 72% classified as handguns. if 72% of gun homicides are being committed with handguns, would that suggest that you prefer banning handguns as well? >> there are no discussions of banning handguns or restricting handguns from women or any other group. i do not want to give up my hand guns.
we are here today to talk about a universal background check that would help make our nation we are here today to talk about a universal background check that would help make our nation safer and limit high-capacity magazines. they are used in crimes and violence across america. >> even though far more people die each year from handgun- inflicted injury than assault weapon-inflicted injuries. >> we believe the limit on high- capacity magazines, even in handguns, is necessary. no more than 10. >> thank you. first i want to acknowledge of the family members out here who have lost loved ones in shootings. i especially want to acknowledge you, maya, who lost her father. i was also listening to all of the statistics here which was important.
i am a former prosecutor, i believe in evidence. the statistic i will never forget is the one from newtown, conn. shared with me by a relative of one of the young victims. charlotte bacon loved her girls got troop. her girl scout troop once had 10 girls and now there are only five left. we have to remember what this is all about as we look at solutions. as a former prosecutor, i have always believed in enforcing the laws on the books. mr. lapierre, i made it a major focus of our office to prosecute the possession of guns. it is clearly part of the solution. you can not lessen the importance of that as we go forward. there are other things as well, including the recommendations that have been made by vice
president biden and the task force. it is very important that we explore those in addition to enforcing the laws on the books. i have heard from republican sheriffs from all over the state that there are major issues with background checks. i would turn to that first, chief johnson. we had a guy in minnesota that just came out in the papers. he killed his parents, he got out, somehow got a permit, was able to obtain guns. when they found him, he had 13 guns in his house, and he had a note that he had written to the gunman in newtown and said, i think about killing all the time. he was able to get a permit and get those guns. this just came out in our local paper. what do you see as some of the biggest loopholes? we talk about gun shows, internet, private sales, and how you think that could help?
and then how do you think you can get background checks done quickly? i am from a hunting estate. the last thing i want to do is hurt my uncle and his hunting. >> there has been great improvement in the nation. it is good but it is not good enough. we are failing miserably, nationally, entering that data. statistics i have read indicate nearly 18 states across the nation submit less than 100 records to the nics system on a regular basis. we have to improve, maryland has to improve. we are not doing enough in maryland. >> is it true that 40% of gun sales take place at gun shows?
>> that is correct. and other non-licensed dealer sale arrangements. 6.6 million guns through that process a year. >> are more people now using the internet to buy guns? >> i was with my squad before coming here today. they regularly use the internet, penny savers, classified ads. they will go outside the state in many cases. there are a variety of methods. including straw purchasers. >> you talked about how quickly the background checks can be done, compared to issuing a ticket. >> the analysis we have conducted, information i have, i believe it is 92% of nics background checks comeback within a minute and half at a licensed dealer. certainly, that is much quicker than i can write a citation. that should be universal. that is what we're calling for. that will make our nation safer.
>> mr. lapierre, would you like to respond on the timing of the checks? >> no. 1, the chief is talking about using the internet to do interstate sales. that is a federal crime and should be prosecuted. the only way you can do a sale is having to go through a dealer and then would have to be cleared through a check. the senator from rhode island talked about the prosecution data. i get that from the syracuse university data, which is who tracks the prosecution of the federal gun laws where that is the initial charge. my project is what they started to do in richmond. they caught a drug dealer with a gun. they put signs of all over the city, if you have an illegal gun, you will be prosecuted. drug dealers, gangs, felons stopped carrying guns. so this 62 number was for
chicago alone. >> i know you want to discuss the statistics with senator whitehouse but i have my own questions. >> gun shows right now, according to all the surveys, are not a source of crime guns. 1.7%. criminals are getting guns on the black market, stealing them, they are not getting them through gun shows. if you are talking about expanding a system that is already overloaded, where they are not doing basically any prosecutions -- it is like bonnie and clyde. they catch one but cannot do anything so they let them go. if you are thinking about expanding that thinking to every
hunter, every relative all over the united states, when the system cannot handle what it has, you are creating enormous federal bureaucracy. it will only hit the law- abiding people, not criminals. honest people will be entrapped into committing crimes they had no intention of committing. it is an unworkable universal federal nightmare bureaucracy being imposed by the federal government. i do not think these law-abiding people -- >> it is my understanding that when people buy guns they undergo a background check. we are simply trying to close some of these loopholes. chief, would you like to respond? >> certainly, when a weapon is licensed to a dealer, they undergo a check. but 40% of these guns are being sold out of that process. this is not unreasonable. if i buy a gun next year, through a private seller, i will
go to a licensed dealer to do it. >> mr. kelly, you said it best when you talked about your belief in the second amendment. with those rights comes responsibility. you talked about responsibility to make sure that these guns to not get into the hands of criminals, terrorists, those with mental illness. do you see the background check as a way to get at this problem? >> gabby and i are both responsible gun owners. i bought a hunting rifle from wal-mart a couple of months ago. i went through a background check, did not take long. they were able to clearly determine that i was a responsible person. in tucson and in many of these cases, there are people that would have failed a background check if the right data was in
the system, like in the case of jared loughner. in that case, he would have had the option to go to a gun show or private seller. i imagine he would have gotten a weapon. he was a pretty marginalized person, and mentally ill. he did not have much of a community around him. i imagine, in that case, if he would have not been able to pass a background check, if there was a universal background check, i do not see him going on the black market to get a gun. maybe if he did, maybe it would have taken him a long time to do that, to find the right place to go. maybe in the period of time -- just maybe -- his parents would have got him on treatment, medication. if they did, from what his attorneys and prosecutors have told me, he would have never done what he did on that day. so you might not be able to prevent every single criminal from getting a weapon, but a universal background check is a common-sense thing to do. if we do them for federal, licensed dealers, why can't we do it at the gun shows and for private sale?
>> thank you. as i was listening, i was thinking about all those people in the room who have those maybes. we have to do better with background checks, the number of proposals out there provided by the vice-president commission. we can do better. >> thank you. i welcome one of the three new members of the committee, senator cruz of texas. you have the floor. i apologize. the allergies have caused my voice to be so bad. >> it is a pleasure to serve with you and members of this committee. i want to begin by thanking the
members of the panel who have come here today. thank you for the time. in particular, capt. kelly, thank you for your service to this country and for your wife's extraordinary journey. congresswoman giffords has been lifted in prayer by millions of americans. please know that your family will continue to be in our prayers for years to come. my wife and i have two little girls. they are four and two. no parent -- in particular, no parent of young children -- could watch what happened in newtown without being utterly horrified -- utterly horrified at the depravity of a deranged criminal who would senselessly murder 20 young children at an elementary school.
unfortunately, in washington, emotion often leads to bad policies. when a tragedy occurs, often, this body rushes to act. at times, it seems the consideration of this body operates in a fact-free zone. i will suggest a philosophy that i think should guide this body in assessing gun violence, and then i would like to highlight and ask you questions on a few points that are salient to addressing this issue. the philosophy i would suggest makes sense is that we should be vigorous and unrelenting in working to prevent, deter, and punish violent criminals. i have spent a substantial portion of my professional life in law-enforcement. the tragedyies inflicted on innocent americans every day by criminals are heartbreaking and we need to do more to prevent them. at the same time, i think we should remain vigilant in
protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens. far too often, the approaches that have been suggested by this congress to the issue of gun violence restricts the liberties of law-abiding citizens, rather than targeting a violent criminals we should be targeting. i would point out, i hope some of the passion we have seen from members of this committee, with respect to the need to prevent violent crimes, will be reflected equally should we find ourselves in a judicial confirmation hearing with a judicial nominee who has a record of abusing the exclusionary rule to exclude evidence that results in a violent criminal walking free and being able to commit yet another crime. i hope we see exactly the same passion devoted to assessing whether judicial nominees will enforce our criminal laws and
not frustrate the administration of justice. three points i think are particularly salient. the first is, in my judgment, the proposed assault weapons ban is a singularly ineffective piece of legislation. i was having a conversation recently with a loved one in my family who asked a very reasonable question. she said, why do regular people in the machine guns? one of the things that happened in this debate -- the phrase assault weapons ban gets people concerned. much like the phrase military- style weapons. we are talking about citizens walking around with m-16's and fully automatic machine guns. fully automatic machine guns are already functionally illegal. ordinary citizens cannot own them, absent very heavy regulation.
this entire discussion does not concern machine guns, and yet, i would venture to say a large percentage of americans do not understand that. i want to begin by talking about the assault weapons ban as it was enforced before. i would ask for slide #1. the assault weapons ban that used to be in effect, according to the department of justice, "fails to reduce average number of victims per gun murder incident or multiple gunshot wound victims." that is the assessment of the united states department of justice. that is 1994. that was beginning in the department of justice under president clinton who said the assault weapons ban was singularly ineffective. second slide. the department of justice, likewise, concluded the assault weapons ban "under it, there
has been no discernible reduction in the lethality and injuriousness of gun violence." so the reaction of this tragedy in newtown is, for a lot of the elected officials, to rush to reenact a law that according to the department of justice did absolutely nothing to reduce gun violence. now, why is that? that is not accidental. the assault weapons ban, if it does not ban machine guns, what does it ban? what it does ban, i would suggest, are scary-looking guns. this is a photograph of a remington 750, one of the most popular hunting rifles in america. this rifle would be entirely legal under this so-called
assault weapons ban. i have a question for you, mr. lapierre. functionally, in terms of the operations of this fire arm, semi-automatic, you pull the trigger, one bullet comes out. is the firing mechanism in this fire arm materially different from the so-called assault weapons ban that this bill is targeted at? >> no, it is not. >> instead what it does target are cosmetic features. for example, i am holding in my hand a pistol grip. under this proposed legislation, if this piece of plastic were attached to this rifle, it would suddenly become a banned assault weapon. i would ask you, mr. lapierre, are you aware of any evidence to suggest that attaching a piece of plastic to this rifle would make it in any way slightly more dangerous?
>> the problem with the whole bill that senator feinstein introduced, it is based on falsehoods to people that do not understand firearms. to convince them that the performance characteristics of guns they are trying to ban through that bill are different than the performance characteristics that they are not trying to ban. they make bigger holes, rapid- fire, they spray bullets, they are more powerful, they are heavy armor. all of that is simply not true. the ar-15 uses a 223. i hear all the time people say, no deer hunter would use something that powerful. there are dozens of other calibers that are used in hunting that are more powerful. >> so this rifle, which is
entirely legal and is used by millions of americans, is sold in the identical caliber as the so-called assault weapons ban, although those looks different, because they have a piece of plastic attached to them? >> the one that senator feinstein uses in her bill, it has the handle on the bottom, which was prohibited, also uses the exact same. >> i am out of time and i want to make one final point. there has been much attention drawn to gun shows. the statistic of 40% has been bandied about. that is unfortunately based on a study that occurred before the background check went into effect, so it is highly dubious. i do want to point out what the department of justice has said. the department of justice has said that firearms used in crimes, 1.9% of those firearms come from gun shows. in response to this crime, this
body does not act to enact anti-crime legislation to prevent violent crimes. instead, it targets 1.9% of the guns, and a substantial portion of those guns were sold by licensed firearm dealers who already conducted a background check. even that 1.9%, a substantial portion, are already subject to a background check. i would ask, if we have a second round, to get into the effectiveness or lack thereof of this. >> i will leave the record open for questions here. because of the schedule this afternoon, we may not have a second round, but i will leave the record open. i have questions, but we probably will not have time. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you to all the witnesses, especially you, captain kelly.
thanks to your beautiful wife, and i mean that in every way. my wife, frannie, and i were heartbroken for the families in newtown, tucson, for those of you listening or watching this hearing in newtown, i want you to know that minnesotans have you in our thoughts and prayers, and we share in your grief. we shared it when we lost lives at a sign factory. maya is here. she lost her father. we share it every time we bury one of our sons or daughters.
i know that a group of students from redlake reservation in minnesota, students who lost their classmates to gun violence, made the 1500-mile trip to newtown just a few days before christmas just to let them know that they are not alone. we are all in this together. over the past month or so, i have been talking to my constituents this together. i have talked to my constituents how to make our communities safer. i traveled safely with hunters and school officials, with law enforcement officers, with mental health experts.
i have convened roundtable discussions and i have had many, many conversations. i have learned is that there is a balance to be struck here. we can honor the second man and we can honor the menace of a -- the second amendment and we can honor the minnesota culture of responsible gun ownership while taking basic measures that will make our kids and our communities safer. so i have co-sponsored a bill to limit the number of rounds and magazine. i co-sponsored a bill to require background checks at gun shows. i have co-sponsored senator feinstein's bill to ban assault weapons. i am reviewing legislation to address gun trafficking. i have supported funding for law enforcement programs and i work every day to carry out the work pauol wallstone does to
repair our mental health system. tomorrow i will introduce the mental health and school act which will improve access to mental health care for kids. catching these issues at an early age is really important. i want to be careful here -- that we don't stigmatize mental illness. the vast majority of people with mental illness are no more violent than the rest of the population. in fact, they are more likely to be the victims of violence. these recent events have caused us as a nation to scrutinize our failed mental healt and system and i'm glad we're talking about this and a serious way. police chief johnson, i met with some mothers from the mountain view school district in minnesota whose children's lives and their own lives were changed for the better because their kids got access to mental health care that they needed at an early age. they got treatment.
their lives are improving and their moms lives are improving. as a community leader and law enforcement official, do you think it will benefit our communities if we are able to use schools to improve access to mental health care? >> i applaud your initiatives and your work, senator. the answer is absolutely. the father with a child that has mental health issues i think is -- it is absolutely essential. if my aunt child has access to medical care she needs but the record shows and reflex that nearly half the children and adults in this nation who are diagnosed with mental health issues and not have access to the care they need and it gets even worse after the age of 18.
we are seeing this in crimes of violence and in crimes across our nation and in my jurisdiction. it is a major problem and i do recognize that most people with mental health issues do not go on to commit violent crimes. however, we have seen over and over again, it seems to be a common thread or theme or issue that we must deal with. >> again, police chief johnson, i have heard from some gun owners who are worried that congress will outlaw features that they really like in guns, things like pistol grips and barrel shroud is and threaded barrels. some say that these features are merely cosmetic. it seems to me that a lot of these features are not just cosmetic, they are functional.
can you and explain why a pistol grip in the right place makes a functional difference, why it is not just a piece of plastic? why are collapsible stocks preventing danger. -- why collapsible stocks present a danger. why are some of the other features dangerous because i feel this is a crucial point? >> i agree completely. it is not just about the capacity of the weapon to handle numerous rounds. that is absolutely critical in this discussion. we believe no more than 10. we use that weapon with the police because of its technical capability. it has an ability to cool down and handled round after round after round. it has a rugged ability, meant
for a combat or environment that one would be placed in facing adversaries, human beings, people. that weapon can be retrofitted enhanceth other devices to your offensive capability. the weapon itself has features to adjusted, optics sites, for example, that can cost hundreds of dollars and i have shot this weapon many times. it would enhance our capability in various tactical maneuvers whether it is from the shoulder or the hip or whether you choose to spray fire the weapon or individually shoot from the shoulder. the optic sites are amazing. the technology advances that weapon as -- that weapon is the weapon of our time. that is where we find ourselves today and certainly, i believe, is meant for the battlefield and a public safety environment only. >> thank you.
mr. chairman, before i yield my time, i would like to submit testimony of maya ronman who is here today lost her father in a shooting in september in minneapolis. i would like unanimous consent to submit your testimony for the record. >> as we indicated earlier, there will be other statements for the record and the record will be kept open for questions. i yield now to senator hatch. we will go to the next republican, senator hatch. >> i thank all of you for being here today. capt. kelly, i appreciate you
and your wife and your testimony and your feelings very much. i appreciated much of your testimony. i am grateful you would take the time to be with us and that was wonderful to see your wife again. let me go to you, mr. lapierre. president obama has issued 23 executive actions on gun violence. can you discuss the commonality between your organization, the nra, and the obama administration when it comes to finding ways to reduce gun violence? >> what we think works, and we support what works. i've talked about the eagle child safety program which would put more money into than anybody in the country. we support enforcing the federal gun laws on the books were under% of the time against drug --
100% of the time against drug dealers, gangs with guns, felons with guns, and that works. you've got states like california where they send more inmates back to the streets and have to put more back in jail for new crimes guns -- committed against their citizens than any other state in the nation. new york state, too. the collapse of the fiscal situation in those states has also collapsed the criminal justice system in those states. the nra has always supported what works. we have 11,000 police instructors and we represent honest people all over this country. there are 25,000 violent crimes per week in this country. the innocent are being preyed upon. the statistics are numbing and 911 calls are horrible. victims all over the country want to be able to protect themselves.
this whole debate almost puts it into two different categories. if you are in the elite, you get body cards, high-cap mags protecting this capital, the titans of industry dead body guards. criminal do not -- obey the law anyway. they get what they want and in the middle is the hard work of law abiding taxpaying american that we will make the least capable of defending themselves. we will say you can have a bold action rival but you cannot have an ar-15. you can have a six-shot revolvers but you cannot have a semi automatic handgun. you can have four or five or six rounds in your magazine but if three intruders break down your door, you cannot have 15 rounds because somebody thinks that is reasonable in their opinion. >> understand.
>> people want to be able to protect themselves. that's why people support the second amendment and that's why these bills are so troubling. they don't hit the elite or the criminal. they hit the average hard- working taxpaying american gets stuck with the laws and regulations. >> i understand one of the bills will ban well over 2000 guns. individualng about guns. >> senator feinstein boss bill bans all kind of guns that are used for target shooting and hunting and personal protection and on the other hand, she exam to guns that have the exact same performance characteristics as the gun she does not banned. gun owners know the truth. that's why gun owners in this country, the 100 million gun owners, get upset about this. they may be the victim of these lies about taking the term of salt and applying it to civilian firearms but they know the truth inherently and they
look at their heads and they shake their head and they say none of this makes sense. >> i appreciate that. mr. trotter, you state that all women in jurisdictions that have concealed carry laws with the benefits of increased safety even if they choose not to carry a weapon themselves. can you please explain why? >> yes, it was mentioned that gun owners are very concerned about all these burdens that could possibly be put on law abiding citizens. you don't have to choose to carry to be the beneficiary of a law that allows people to carry. for women, you reap the benefits of a fewer murders, fewer rapes, fewer possibilities of being a victim of violence if the state that you live in does not ban any body, particularly
women, from carrying weapons. it is a matter of choice. we are not saying that all women should or need to carry weapons but you need to protect the second amendment right to choose to defend yourself. >> thank you. mr. koppel, you wrote an article that appeared in "the wall street journal." in the article, you point out that firearms are the most heavily regulated consumer product in the united states. gun-control laws are more prevalent now than in the mid- 1960's when you walk into any store and buy a semiautomatic weapon with no questions asked. in your opinion, the lack of firearms regulations is not a controlling factor to the recent rise of random-shootings. what factors have contributed
to the rise of these mass random shootings? could you put your microphone on? >> there is a copycat effect lots of studies of the scholars of all kinds of criminals but especially these people seeking notoriety show a strong copycat effect. that is something that makes me think we need immediate protection for schools because of the copycat danger right now. in addition, there was a an institutional causation of the mentally ill starting in the 1960's and going for the 1980's and some of that was because of budgetary issues. a lot of the time, the promise was that we will put these people in halfway houses so they can be partially in the community which is a great idea but then there was never the
funding for the half place -- for the halfway houses and people walk away and there is nothing done to follow up. jared louoghner, adam lanzq, so many of these perpetrators absolutely would have been civilly committed under the system we had 50 years ago. we need to move back towards greater possibility for civil commitment for the dangerously violent mentally ill. both the senator from minnesota were saying that mentally ill people are not any more dangerous or violent than anyone else. there is a subset of them that are dangerously violent and mentally ill and we need to have them off the streets before that -- so they can add to it endanger themselves or others. >> mr. chairman, i would like to have a statement put into the
record. >> that objection. -- without objection. >> thank you so much and i want to thank all of you for being here. it has been and leighton hearing -- and in lightning hearing. and if this were a simple thing -- there are some freedoms among the mentally ill have to be considered, too. this is complex. this is not easy but i can say this -- i think this has been a pitch typically good thing and i appreciate all of you testifying. >> thank you for that, senator hatch. >> thank you for convening this important. -- important hearing. to the panel, thank you for your testimony and to captain kelly and a wonderful wife, thank you for everything you are doing to bring an important message. we as a committee are wrestling here today and we as a country are wrestling with how to respond appropriately and effectively to a whole string of horrific shootings weather in newtown or tucson or in any sikh temple or virginia tech,
there are too many of these incidents a year upon year. i am grateful for all my colleagues who have engaged in this to our discussion today -- this at toro discussion today -- as thorough discussion today about how to balance things. one of the most important things is to get our facts right. a number of my colleagues have made a great deal of the number of cases of federal gun prosecution's going down. in the most recent report from the executive office of united states attorney and it turns out the number of defendants charged with federal gun violence is steady. in 2011, it was 46% higher than in 2000. i encourage all who are paying attention to the numbers. what matters is the number of defendants prosecuted with federal gun violations. i have lots of things i would like to touch upon and i'm grateful our vice-president, joe biden, has led a broad argument and lifted up to the
folks across the country and my state of delaware. i have heard from parents whose children suffer from mental illness and who are struggling to provide the care they deserve and need. law-enforcement officials, educators, community leaders, gun owners, sportsmen, people are concerned about how we strike the right balance and how we make our country safer. if i could, to captain kelly, thank you for leading americans to responsible solution. one of the main ideas you and your wife have expanded on our background checks. how it is today that convicted felons are able to get their hands on weapons despite our current background checks laws and how can we fix them? >> currently, senator cruse earlier mentioned of the 1.9% of criminals that committed a crime with a gun are prisoners.
i want to look at that for a second. there's also a statistic that says 80% of criminals got their guns from a private sale or transfer. by closing that part of the existing loopholes which is the fact that there is no requirement to get a background check with a private cell, you could be effectively reduce the number of guns and hands of criminals. we know from what happened in tucson that if there was an effective background check, which includes having the mental health data and a person's drug use into the system and if, in fact, there was no gun show lupo, i would contend he would -- loophole, i would contend he would have had a difficult time getting a gun. the first in the knees to be done is we need to have a universal background check.
if background checks are good enough for somebody using a federal firearms are licensed dealer like wal-mart or i just purchased a got a couple of months ago, a hunting rifle, and went for a background check -- why isn't that good for other sales from a private individual or sales from somebody who is really in business at a gun show? >> captain kelley, as a gun owner yourself, how do you feel that a thorough universe a background check like you describe either 4 per -- purchase of weapons or large capacity magazines -- how could that affect or in french or second amendment right. -- how could that affect or infringe upon your second amendment rights? >> i don't think it would infringe my rights of all. i think i'm as strong a supporter of the second amendment as anybody on this panel. i have flown 38 combat missions over iraq and kuwait defending our constitution. i have been shot at dozens of times. i find it interesting that
often, we talk about putting a security guard to school. that is better than no security guard at the school but from my experience of being shot at and what that actually feels like and how chaotic it is, but with the exception of chief johnson, i would suspect that not many members of this power in this -- of this panel, or even in this room, for that matter, have been in a fire spot. it is chaos. there is really some effective things we can do. one is the background check. let's make it difficult for the criminals, the terrorists, and the mentally ill to get a gun. >> i agree with you and i have agreed to co-sponsor legislation. at the outset, i am grateful for the work the nra does in providing safe gun ownership to millions of americans. i hope you'll take into account the data i have often gone prosecutions. i disagree with a point you made
your testimony. you said that background checks will never be universal because criminals will never submit to them. that may be true but the point that captain kelly makes is telling. if we put in place in combination tougher restrictions on straw purchases and those who buy guns legally but sell them to those who shouldn't have them and we put in place universal background checks and impose some responsibility on responsible gun owners to report lost or stolen weapons in combination, wouldn't all of these things effectively move us towards a country with a number of those who should not have weapons cannot get access? >> i think you will end up with a huge bureaucracy with a huge waste of police resources and money that could go into doing things in the police criminal justice area that was saved lives. the study you were talking about actually says we are
criminals if we have guns. 37% are from black market. if you try to do this universe a background check which sounds what ever, it ends up being a universal federal nightmare imposed upon law-abiding people all over this country. criminals will ignore it and the federal government we already know about prosecute. -- won't prosecute. the vice president at the bidding with our people said -- at the meeting with our people said they didn't have time to process this, it goes by the cases. what is the point of all playing. -- what is the point of this whole thing? >> the data you just suggested is not just closing the gun show loophole. it is also thoroughly enforcing those who transfer weapons.
a lot of the folks that you cited are getting their hands on guns inappropriately. i see my time is almost up. chief johnson, is valuable to have the input of law enforcement professionals. in book -- in your view with the background check and aggressive enforcement, would that be a waste of police resources or would that make a difference on the street? >> i have to respectfully disagree on -- with wayne on this issue. public safety, police -- we are ready. we are unified on this issue that a universal background check will make our society a safer place, will make my police officer is safer is absolutely essential. >> thank you, chief and thank- you to the panel.
>> again, another member of this committee, senator flake of arizona, we appreciate you being here. if it's any consolation, i have bad seed years ago. -- i had that seat years ago. >> it is good to know and thank you for convening this and thinking to the panel for being here and offering excellent testimony. i especially want to thank mark for being here and i'm sure gaby is watching the proceedings. i just visited her and i want you to know and -- and her to know how much we miss her. i was on a call this morning with a few dozen ranchers, border renters in arizona, and -- border ranchers in arizona, and it was reminded that this is a practice she began years ago, to talk about immigration issues and keep them up to speed and seek their input.
i have continued that practice. i can tell you she offered wonderful representation to the people of southern arizona's and she is missed. i'm grateful to you and to her for the public service you have offered in the last year under difficult circumstances and taking up this new cause so thank you. with regard to the tucson shooting, you mentioned jared loughner had had drug use in the past that might have triggered an entry into a system that he may have been checked also the mental health aspect series to bruce gude -- seems to be the difficult problem to solve. in maryland, i believe, there have only been 56 mental health
records provided to the ncia system and arizona as 125,000 better not interfaced with the -- entries, but not interfaced with the system. what are the major problems there? i will take anybody who can comment on this, perhaps chief johnson, or mark - is its sole lead a privacy issues? many of those have a federal nexus and that is something we can deal with here. i am interested in in why it is so difficult to have some of the mental health records entered into the system. do you want to take this? >> government o'malley in the state of maryland last week introduced his plans to increase significantly data into the national criminal background check system.
you are right, maryland could do much better in this area. >> is this just an issue with maryland or any other state? i am assuming it is similar to any other state. is it an issue of resources or are there privacy concerns that prevent them from offering this? guest: >> 18 states submit less -- >> i think there is confusion. data that i have seen says there are 18 states that submit less than 100 records to the system. amongst the middle school community, there is even fear. how does hipaa fact this system? i believe the president's plan called for incentivizing this and it would help the problem. >> do you want to comment? >> thank you for your kind words. of the records that arizona has not submitted to the background check system, i don't know why. i imagine it could be something -- it might be a matter of
resources. maybe the funding is not there to have the manpower to do that. possibly, maybe there is no will. maybe for some reason in the state of arizona, maybe they don't have a desire to share that information. i don't know but after this hearing i will try to find out. i will get back to you. >> and so will i.. i think we can have a real impact here so i thank you all for your testimony. thank you. >> senator brooke mccaul, you are recognized next. everybody assumes that you and
i had a number of discussions about the tragedy in connecticut including one telephone call when you were about to meet i have relied a great deal on both your expertise and law enforcement background also the fact that you're from connecticut. >> thank you and want to express my appreciation to you for sensitivity and your condolences. so many of my colleagues were there and expressions we have bad this morning and for the beating this hearing which is a beginning in what i hope will be -- a call to action that newtown has begun an action that is really bipartisan. i think there is a real potential for high part, on
grounds issue. we serve have more in common. i want to thank all the members of the panel for your patience and staying power. it has been a very informative and worthwhile hearing. but i want to say a particular thing and others have, to captain kelly and gabt giffords enter family for being here. a victim from aurura is here. some of the sandy hook families are not here.
if it is no objection, would like to submit the op-ed from "the new york post." -- today's "washington post." >> without objection. >> to chief johnson, you are here not only in a personal capacity but, in my view, as resenting and reflecting the courage and heroism the tens of thousands of law enforcement community, police and firefighters and birth responders across the country who, every day braved the threat of gunfire and are often out- man the oregon by -- often out-manned or out-gunned by criminals. i appreciate your service to
our country and i was in sandy hook at a firehouse or parents want to find out whether their children or alive. i will never forget the sights and sounds of that day when the grief and pain was expressed in the voices and faces of those parents. as much evil as the were on that day in newtown, there was also a tremendous power was a man -- there was also a tremendous heroism and goodness. it is the heroism and goodness of the educators also perished literally tried to save those children by putting themselves between the bullets and their children. and the heroines of the region -- and heroism of the first responders and police who ran into the building to stop the shooter not knowing he was dead and they're being they're stopped the tragedy.
-- and they're being they're stopped the tragedy -- and their being there stop the tragedy. i want to thank the community of sandy hook. i have spent countless hours there, the better part of two weeks after the shooting and most recently, this past weekend, the dedication of a memorial and time with one of the families. their strength and courage has been an inspiration to the country and very important to advance an agenda of making our nation safer. when the way they have done that -- one way they have done that has been to create the sandy hook promise. i would like to read the promise. we have it on a chart here. it is -- "i promise to honor the 26 lives lost at sandy hook elementary school.
i promise to do everything i can to encourage and support common sense solutions that make my community and our country safer from similar acts of violence. i promise this time there will be change." i am proud to say that steve barton has made the sandy hook promise, gabby giffords and mark kelly have also. tens of thousands of americans from connecticut and across the country have made the sandy hook promise as an ally. -- as have i.. i want to ask mr. la irerre if -- mr. lapierre, will you make the promise? >> we have advocated putting our security in the schools, fixing the mental health system, computerizing the records of those mentally adjudicated.
i would hope we could convince some of these companies -- by mdot talking about the first amendment -- to stop putting out the violent video games and finally, we need to enforce the reasonable gun laws on but books that the nra supports. >> can i take that as a yes? >> yes, that is a yes. we have 11,000 policemen -- >> can i invite and urge you to advocate the responsible gun owners and i thank them for being responsible gun owners, also joined in the sense of promise? -- the sandy hook promised? >> there is not a law-abiding firearms owner across the united states that was not torn to pieces by what happened in sandy ". they just don't believe their constitutional right to own a firearm and the fact they can protect their family with a firearm results and the problem.
>> you and i agree there should be more prosecution of illegal gun possession and illegal gun ownership. >> i have been on this capitol hill for 20 some years agree that's the problem. every time we say we're going to do it, when president obama leaves office four years from now, his prses will not be much different than they are now. if they did 20 a month they would have 24,000. let's see if we get there. >> chief johnson, you testified for the need for better background checks. do you believe those background checks should be applied to ammunition purchases as well as firearm purchases? >> our organization supports background checks for ammunition
sales. >> thank you. and captain kelly i'm just about out of time but i would like to ask you if i may, you supported better background checks as an advocate of the second amendment. i joan you until believing that americans have a strong and robust right to possess firearms, it is the law of the land. do you also believe that better background checks on firearm purchases would help make both arizona and our nation safer? >> absolutely, senator. while we were having this hearing and we don't know the details. but in phoenix, arizona there is another what seems to be a shooting with multiple victims. it doesn't seen like anybody was killed but the initial reports are three people injure rid in
phoenix, arizona with multiple shots fired. there are 50 or so police cars on the scene. i agree with you that universal background check that is effective and has the mental health records in it will go a long way in saving people's lives. >> and improving the quality -- >> absolutely. >> let me again, thank the panel. my hope is that newtown will be remembered, not just as a place but as a promise. and we use this tragedy as a means of transforming the debate, the scugs, the action that we need to make america safer. thank you, mr. chairman. >> just so everybody understands we're coming to a close. senator cruz said he had one more question, let us do that
then we'll do the newest member of this committee and she will have the final word. senator cruz? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate you allowing me to ask an additional question. wane to ask a question of chief johnson. your testimony here today was in some tension with what i've heard from police officers serving on the ground in the state of texas. your testimony, as i understand it, in your judgment stricter gun control laws would prove effective in limiting crime. the data i have seen suggests that the evidence does not support it. if one looks in the direct of columbia which has -- district of columbia which has the strictest gun laws. we saw when the ban was implemented the homicides rate
rose to 150 in 19le 8 and over 450 -- 1988 and over 450 in 19 93. the city of you chicago, for example, unfortunately suffers from the latest statistics from 15.9 murderers. your city, the city of baltimore has the statistics which contrasts with my hometown of houston which does not have strict gun control laws that has a murder rate of 9.2 per 100,000, 1/3 of baltimores. austin has 1/10 of that of baltimores. in light of the evidence, what
data supports your contention that restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens to possess firearms would decrease crime rather than make them more vulnerable to violent crimes that i would suggest that the data indicates. >> we know that nearly two million prohibited purchasers were stopped from obtaining their firearms since 1994 to 2009. senator, i would tell you that your homicides statistics would be greater and often missed in this conversation is the medical intervention that takes place today at the e.m.t. level in the field, to the shock trauma facilities that are robust in our nation today. this data would be higher. i'm here today representing nine major police executive
organizations for the sake of time, i'm not going to read all of those, i think they are the matter of the record. from problems with new york, chicago, and baltimore, with some of the toughest gun regulations and laws is outside weapons coming in. it is about the background check problem. it is about the acquisition of these firearms outside the normal firearm dealer process. that's what we have to fix. in addition, high-capacity magazines are a problem. certainly, we're see sexual assualt -- assault weapons used each afternoon day. holistically with the plan that the president laid out we can make our nation a safer place. >> thank you. we have three new members and
the committee is in agreement and you, senator, has the last word. >> are you saving the best for last? >> i will go to you. you're very patient in waiting. so thank you. >> good to know. thank you so much, mr. chairman. i would like to thank the panel for this very lively scugs on what is a highly emotional subject. i would like to thank you for being here because gabby and i were elected in the same year to the house of representatives and her courage inspires us. i take to hear her testimony
today, asking us to do something now to reduce gun violence in our country. chief johnson, you are in the trenches, you're in the firing line. i certainly give much creedance to your testimony. i certainly understand their perspective. this to me, this issue is not about aggravating second amendment rights. one of those areas is already been deemed reasonable is the requirement for background checks. so what many of us are saying that has already been deemed reasonable should be a reasonable requirement when the guns are sold, regardless how are where they are sold. i hope that we can reach bipartisan agreement on the
reasonable limit on requiring background checks when guns are sold. captain kelly, i do appreciate you starting your testimony by saying that there is no perfect solution. there are all kinds of environmental issues and community issues that lead to gun violence. i believe that we should do that which is reasonable so nothing is perfect. i believe that one of the areas of focus for your organization, americans for responsible solutions is the mental health part of what we ought to be addressing. do you have some key suggestions that congress can take to help address the mental illness
problem? >> thank you, senator. first of all, compelling states to share with the federal government the records -- the appropriate records of adjudicated mental illness and criminal records also within the federal government. i had a conversation with the vice president, who talked specifically about intergovernment agencies and why that there has also been some issues in certain federal agencies getting the records into the background check system. so if we can improve the system, close the gun show loophole, require background checks for private sellers, i think we will go a long way to preventing many of these murderers and mass shootings in this country.
we're not going to stop all of them. there is a reason that we have the 20 times the murder rate of other developed countries. i think that is unacceptable. but like you said, as an organization i certainly think congress can come together on this issue. we realize there is a problem and it certainly can be solved. >> captain kelly, when somebody has been deemed to show signs of mental illness and if there has been an ajoud case that that identification is easier and that information gets into our system it becomes harder when you're trying to determine whether someone is suffering from mental illness and needs help. often these kinds of signs manifest themselves in the home but in the schools. we don't have a lot of
psychologist, therapyists in our schools. would you support more of those personnel in our schools so we can help these individuals? >> absolutely. in the case of jared in tucson, the community college was well aware that he had some form of mental illness. they expelled him over it. multiple cases of erratic behavior in and outside the classroom. for some reason, he was not refered, as far as i know, to an appropriate mental health authority for evaluation. often those have to be voltairery. it seems in this case there was lack of education within the community to get him some effective treatment. it's really -- it is really sad
because in his case, as well as many other cases, often you see a man who is paranoid schizophrenic who commits these crimes. but with treatment they would never have done these things. absolutely, we're going to work to help fix the mental health aspect of this too. it is a big part of it. i agree with mr. lapierre on this issue. so the a perspective universal background check without holes in it and get it into the system. those are critical things that can make our future safer. >> i do have one question for chief johnson. it has to do with the environment that allows bullying to occur in our schools. sometimes bullying can lead to
violent situations and i'm sure it has happened in baltimore and just recently we had bullying in hawaii in our schools. one of the ways we prevent cease allegation of violent behavior is to put -- increase violent behavior. do you have any thoughts on that? >> the president's plan calls for not only funding and announcement for additional police officers and i believe congress should support these plans. they also call for funding to support additional counselors and psychological service providers in the schools. certainly, in my particular case and in my jurisdictions across america, we have police officers in all the high schools and the middle schools. it costs my jurls diction $8 million a year. they have a place but certainly
we believe more needs to be done. in both shootings a bullying was alleged to be a factor. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> i want to thank you all the witnesses who came here to the hearing. it's a person -- i think what we're trying to to do and i hope people realize on this committee we're trying to write laws to protect the public. i don't think individual rights, include weapons of war or machine guns, and where do we go when we step back from those levels? we hope to build consensus, obvious, there is more work that
needs to be done. if there is one consensus, we all want to do is prevent future tragedies and put an end to the violence that breaks all of our hearts. i live an hour's drive from another country, canada. i don't see the same kind of problem there. i want to find out how we can stop what is happening. there should be some areas of agreement. i hope the committee can getting together to mark up legislation next month, this month is virtually over and then take it to the floor. we will respect the diversity of the view points represented today. we have to listen to one another. if we listen to the bafe thing
>> you can see this hearing again tonight on c-span. we'll air the entire 3 hour and 50 minute hearing beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern. tomorrow on c-span the confirmation hearing for chuck hagel. he served two terms as the republican senator from nebraska. his hearing is live on c-span on thursday. at 2:00 in the afternoon tomorrow outgoing secretary of state hillary clinton speaks on foreign relations. live coverage here on c-span. >> it is going to be a good bill. can't you get in and agree to come own and vote and go on or is he going to try to keep from passing it? >> i think -- somebody has to --
>> they strategizing on the president's civil rights agenda saturday at 6:00 p.m. eastern. online at c-span radio.org and on channel 119 x.m. radio. senators unveiled their proposal to overhaul the immigration laws. president obama called far pathway for citizenship for the illegal immigrants already in the country. we spoke to the head of the group for republicans for immigration reform. host: carlos gutierrez was commerce secretary in the george w. bush administration. now he's with the group republicans for immigration reform, which he co-founded. thanks for joining us from new york. guest: a pleasure. host: the headline in the
baltimore sun today -- secretary, what do you think about the president's remarks yesterday? it sounds like he will let congress take the lead if they can get rolling. guest: yes, i think the principles are pretty straightforward and very similar. it's pretty easy to agree to a set of principles. the real crunch will come in when you get into the details and when you get into the actual writing of a bill, which the last time was 700 pages. it gets into a level of complexity that sometimes we disregard. i don't think that's the part about a threat of sending his own bill was necessary. if we get to the stage where the president has to send his bill because the senate is not making progress on their bill, then i think we are done. then it's probably going to be another five years before we get to this again.
i think that was the kind of threat that you could make, but no one wants to be in that position. the important thing is to have unity of purpose, get together and to do a bipartisan approach, and get this done. both sides are going to have to a lot of compromise. host: let's listen to president obama's remarked yesterday in las vegas. >> every day, like the rest of us, they go out and try to earn a living. often they do that in the shadow economy, a place where employers may offer them less than the minimum wage or make them work overtime without extra pay. when that happens, it's not as bad for them, it's bad for the entire economy, because all the businesses that are trying to do the right thing that are hiring people legally, paying a decent wage, following the rules, they are the ones to suffer. they have got to compete against companies that are breaking the rules. the wages and working conditions
of american workers are threatened as well. if we are truly committed to strengthening our middle-class and providing more ladders of opportunity to those who are willing to work hard to make it into the middle class, we've got to fix the system. we have to make sure that every business and every worker in america is pulling by the same set of rules. we have to bring in the shadow economy into the light so that everybody is held accountable. the businesses and the immigrants getting on the right side of the law. common sense. that's why we need comprehensive immigration reform. host: president obama speaking yesterday. secretary gutierrez, the wall street journal has a piece today called "obama's immigration principles."
it says the u.s. needs more legal way ares for immigrants to enter the economy and reduce illegal immigration in the future. do you agree with this? were there warning signs in with the president said? guest: he did have this threat of his own bill and things like that. but there's no question that we need low-skilled workers and we need high skilled workers. we have to really sell on what -- settle on what it's temporary, for temporary workers there must be some market flexibility. may have someone here on a temporary basis but to as great leadership skills. the employer wants to promote them. it's unfortunate the then that they have to go back because they're only temporary.
so i think there has to be flexibility in the system. these issues you mentioned, they are so close that this is the kind of compromise that we need. if the president has to compromise on a guest worker program or maybe having some triggers for the border before we start allowing people to get in line for green card, those should be easy things to compromise. the important thing is to get the reform, to move forward, as the president said, and not get stalemated and use this as another political ploy to hurt republicans. the important thing is the country and the progress on the policy. host: here is what a republican of texas had to say about the senate immigration proposal that we saw two days ago.
what is your opinion? guest: what i say to my colleague, my republican colleagues, congressman smith, we cannot continue to dismiss every type of reform and every time we try reform with the word "amnesty." if we continue to do that, we will be sitting here in 20 years. the complexity of our system will be out of control.
we will not be competing with the rest of the world, because they will be doing a lot better than we are. and we will still be dismissing anything that is brought forward with one word -- amnesty. with all due respect, i don't buy it. the meaning of amnesty is a full part and with no penalties. no one is talking about that. no one is talking about handing these folks a passport. no one is talking about a full pardon without penalties. they have to come forth, have a background check, pay a fine, probably back taxes. then they could achieve legal status if they want citizenship, which not all of them do. then they can achieve legal status if they want citizenship. not all the undocumented workers do. then there is a process for that. they have to get in line and wait in turn and not cut in.
we're beyond dismissing issues of national consequence and the future economic consequence for the future with one word. we have to get into the detail and the thoughtful and strategic. we need more than one word here. we have to debate this. we have to fix the system. host: here are the numbers to call. we have a line for legal and illegal immigrants. tell us about the group you co-founded.
guest: it is a group to reach out to republicans to provide support to those republicans who want to support immigration reform. this is first and foremost an economic priority. we cannot grow without immigration. have proof of that. anytime we have clamped down on immigration, we have seen it in our economy. this is a first and foremost an economic imperative. many republicans know and see that. we would provide the marketplace with education materials so that people understand this is the right thing to do.
we have agreed we're not going to put people on buses and 747's. we're also not going to say, this is a passport for everybody. we know the solution is in the middle. that is what we have to work on. rejecting a notion because of a lack of conviction for immigration is going to make matters worse. we have a disadvantage versus canada and australia. they have updated their system. ours dates pack to the 1950's 1960's, 1970's, and 1980's. host: to take a super pac aimed
at electing republicans dedicated to reforming immigration. let's go to the phones. caller: good morning. i would like to set the record straight. there are not 11 million illegal aliens in this country. there were more like 26 million. obama wants to extend the invitation to come there to these people's families. we could end up with 35 million people.
70% of the people are from mexico and south america. this is why obama was able to get back in as president. we should not be in a position where one ethnic group is able to determine the outcome of election. 37% of these people are receiving some form of public assistance. host: we will get a response from secretary gutierrez. guest: i don't know what the source of your numbers are. i have never heard those numbers. they sound incredibly inflated. the thing about immigration that we should think about is that the reason we have undocumented workers in the country is that our laws are dysfunctional.
if businesses cannot hire a worker with documentation, either they go out of business or they hire whoever they can. these folks have come to the u.s. because their jobs. they did not come seeking welfare. undocumented unemployment is lower than the national average because they come to fill jobs that would be vacant if they were not here. when the job market is no longer market, they will not come. we need to fix our laws so are system enables us to bring in the workers we need to grow our economy legally. host: the caller mentioned the
term 47% above those who use public services. that is a phrase mitt romney used. you were working with the mitt romney campaign. there was some criticism since the campaign wound down. guest: we have talked about the process -- the governor had to take some positions in order to get nominated or to be the party's candidate. then take different positions in the national election. that is a system the party should be talking about. it is very tough in this day and age. the idea of self-deportation.
i think it was very poor advice. what it said to immigrants was get out, we do not what you here. we're going to make life so miserable for you that you're going to self-deport. he talked about having a comprehensive reform plan in his first year. people were still asking about his statement of self-deportation. i think that was a part of whatever criticism i may have had. i believe we misread the immigrant population. they would say in polls, we want education and immigration would be number 5 or number 6.
immigrants are not worried about that anymore, they are worried about jobs. that's not true. immigrants want them to know and the word get those vibes from our party and our candidate. it is a feel that people have about who wants to be in this country. that's where the challenge is. host: teresa is a legal immigrant. good morning. caller: good morning. i have been in this country for 12 years. i did my master's and then my ph.d. right now i'm working with an h-1 visa.
i have tried to apply to a waiver. they keep on refusing me. i have my ph.d. i'm becoming so frustrated. it is easier to become an illegal immigrant in this country. it sends a message out there. don't go through the line. it is so frustrating you try to do the right thing. then they keep refusing you. they take somebody's social security number. there are americans in this country that do not want to work. it is easier to do things the illegal way. they should find a way to help people that want to go through
the right system to be legal immigrants. i have spent almost $20,000 and that is from private loans. you are taking loans and you cannot pay for it. it is beneficial to be an illegal immigrant. host: thank you, teresa. guest: it is an excellent comment and a great example of what is wrong with our system. to follow legal channels has become more difficult then to find a way of going around the rules. the rules and laws do not work. they are too bureaucratic. you have to go through four different agencies.
four months go by and the harvest is over. the system is not helping her. our quotas for that segment of immigration are too low. we need to increase those. we have companies that are building research and development centers in canada. it is a great example of why we have to fix the legal immigration system to prevent the undocumented immigration system. host: carlos gutierrez is the co-founder of the super pacs, as been for immigration reform. we have some comments on twitter. this is from rick.
we need to open up to cuba. the economy there has been such a struggle. we should be more empathetic to the spanish people. most of these companies that hire undocumented workers, most are republicans. i think they play on the other side of the fence. they wanted to immigration but the pay them $5 or $6 an hour. i believe the mexicans that want to work hard, we should have them stay here and try to get their citizenship. thank you.
guest: if i could say to the caller, when i came from cuba, we are immigrants and political refugees. one thing i remember about the country was help welcoming it was. i felt that people wanted me to succeed and people would celebrate my success. i did not speak a word of english. but people were welcoming. in the case of the undocumented workers, there is a bigger argument here, i think it is a time for national reconciliation. these folks across the border 10, 15 years ago or five years ago. some people come through airlines.
"go north and you can find a job." they found employers that were willing to hire them. they had to be hired. the legal processes do not work very well. some do not work at all. they have been making our produce and growing our fruits and vegetables and mowing are lawns, doing all these things we take for granted. there is something unfair about putting all the burden on the one individual who came over to do just one thing and that is to work. i think we have to come to grips with that.
there is a matter of national character and honor that says we have to admit we have a problem. we are all accountable. let's work together to get this fixed. i would like to think history will look back and say that was a moment of great character for the u.s. and not a blemish on our history because we do not have a great history when it comes to low-skilled immigration or new immigrants. it happens to be hispanic immigrants. go back 50, 60 years ago. we went through the chinese exclusion act. every group has faced the
problem. the power of immigration has always won out. believe in our system. this idea that immigrants will change our language and take over our cultural is a lack of confidence in the american magic. people come to the u.s. and want to be american. they want to be part of the mainstream. we only speak one language. chinese companies can read our plans but we cannot read theirs. we should have more faith in american society and this incredible experiment that has been american democracy.
people come here and become americans. that is our great advantage. host: a headline in "national journal." host: looking at a chart from "national journal." 131 of the house republicans represent districts that are mostly white. republicans have the majority of those. the numbers diminish. is there any incentive to vote for immigration reform? guest: yes, absolutely.
if we are the party of growth and the party of prosperity and free markets and individual opportunities, then we must be the party of immigration. there is a strategic inconsistency of being the free-market party and individual opportunity and upward mobility and all the great things our free-market system can do and not be the party of immigration. so immigration is an important economic imperative. i am pleased to see it members like paul ryan, who is a leader. people will follow john mccain and marco rubio and others.
it is the right thing for our country and the right thing for our economy. republicans have -- should have more interest in getting this reform passed than democrats. i think we won it for all the right reasons and that is because we want the hispanic votes. it is the right policy. host: we must do better at has a different opinion on twitter. let's go to ann in florida. good morning. caller: good morning. i think you're the most wonderful example of immigration in our country.
i am a little nervous. i am a republican. i was concerned about the speech by marco rubio. how do you think our current administration president is going to follow in forcing identification? i'm in florida. how the enforcement by the republican platform that they unveiled will be addressed in terms of following our border rules and that sort of thing. thank you. guest: thank you. that is a good question. senator rubio issued a press release talking about that
aspect of it. the president did not identify border triggers before we allow legalized undocumented workers to apply for a green card if they choose to do so. the subject of a security is the essential. no country in the world needs to be apologetic for one to secure its borders and to know who is in the country. that is a right of every sovereign country. our situation is complex. it is the borders and the airports. a lot of it is a system of the
physical border but also being able to track who enters at an airport, the visa expired but they have not left. we have a lot more technology than the last time we tried this. we can do things like provide the private sector with verification tools that enable you to get a match on a social security number, and we should put that technology to work. it is the border and the airports and verify who is in the country and applying for work. we have the technology to do it. we to ensure we get this done in a way that makes sense for our system. that will help us in many years if we have that kind of system.
president obama promised he would do this in his first year. he did not. the worry is we go at this again and it doesn't work. the president gets all the political points. the republicans get all the political blame. a political victory but not a strategic victory for the country. we need to make this a national purpose of policy and not an exercise in politics. i hope we'll keep our eye on that. that is going to be the big challenge. host: we have an idea from jbc.
al in rhode island, hi, al. caller: good morning. thank you for c-span. the american people want immigration but they want legal immigration. we do not one no favoritism for anybody. you talk about language. the chinese came here. it is not right. this president is so far off the ball. we will bring 11 million more people into this country when we don't put those people to work first? i did not think that is right. we have other problems that are more important.
we're flooding this country with unskilled workers. guest: the only reason on skilled workers come to this country is because there is unskilled work that needs to be done that frankly americans do not want to do anymore. go back decades, there was a time when you worked on the family farm. there was a time somebody would be a truck driver. that is life and my kids will do better. americans are very different today and their skill levels is higher. these are job openings that the economy has. if we went back 20 years, we
would not have grown as fast as we have grown. as part of this national reconciliation and being big about this, these undocumented workers have made a tremendous contribution to our economy. people like to talk about fairness. all of a sudden we say, get out. i think we have to do the right thing for the brand equity of the u.s. host: did you want to respond to a tweet about getting the border part done first?
guest: until we fix our laws, we will not care rid of undocumented immigration or illegal immigration. the reason we have illegal immigration is because we do not have legal processes to be able to bring people in. it is like our laws do not recognize that immigration is an annual affair. we need immigrants every single year. our work force has to be growing every single year. unless we have that understanding and to make up for that reality through our laws, we are going to have a dysfunctional system. i agree with the caller.
border security and being able to decide who comes into the country is very much our obligation and right. unless we fix our laws, congress is making it difficult to stop immigration. host: mike is our last call. caller: i am a democrat and african american in this country. the congressman that yelled "you lied" to the president -- i wonder if he tells the truth. 11 million illegal immigrants staying in this country. will they qualify for obamacare?
when you say immigrants, she know the people are talking about illegal immigrants. they are not talking about legal immigrants. guest: that is a good point. part of this issue is not just what you do about the 11 million undocumented. they are here and working and have families. the point about obamacare -- the president talked about entitlements if they choose to get in line and apply for a green card and wait that time and they can have access to in, programs as the law demands today. that means they would not have
obamacare. if they do, that changes the economic equation dramatically. a profound strategic statement. people come to our country today to work. they come to do what all immigrants have wanted to do. they want to contribute and stay out of trouble and they want access to this incredible society that we have. many people go to european countries because of the entitlement systems. they go for the wrong reasons. i would hate to think future immigrants come to the u.s. for our entitlements. it has never been that way. they come here to work.
they know their children will do better than they will. they also want to dream. we want to be careful about what kind of a country we are. people are going for the entitlements and not the work opportunity. host: secretary carlos gutierrez, thank you for joining us this morning. >> on tomorrow morning, a look at the u.s. auto industry. we'll discuss our environmental energy affects the auto industry. and talk about auto safety and federal regulation. our guest is matt blunt, head of the auto -- automotive policy council. to promote the role of the auto
industry in the my. we're live on washington journey every day on 7:00 eastern. >> one can't count the times that americans say we're the best country in the world. what a stupid thing to say. everyone thinks the country is pretty good. why do we have to believe that we are the best? what does that mean? why do we have to assert it? all of the time? what does it mean to other people? american products go around the world, information products go
around the world, in every corner of the world. we teach them not to like us. >> author and activist and transafrica founder, randall robinson. in depth, three hours live on "book tv" on c-span2. >> the senate yesterday confirmed john kerry to the secretary of state. governor deval patrick named his replacement for senator kerry. he named william cowan to the senate and will serve until june until there is a special election in june to fill the seat. >> welcome on what i think is a
pretty exciting day. in this room and the office next door, i had a chance to watch governor patrick make some ethical decisions, decisions. surely this was a tough decision with lots of qualified candidates to make sure that he was going to pick the right one to represent the commonwealth in washington dc. it was a tough decision, but a great decision. for anyone who had the chance to work with mo cowan, you cannot find a better individual -- smart, strategic, tough. qualities that will lend itself well to representing the commonwealth over the next several months. lastly, he is cool. [laughter] tom brady, george clooney, james
bond, and the president have nothing on nomo. and regulations on a great decision. we are excited -- congratulations on a great decision. we are excited. [applause] >> thank you lieutenant governor. he said it. good morning, everyone. thank you for joining us. i want to congratulate john kerry on his confirmation and thanking him for his service to the people of the commonwealth. for more than 25 years as a veteran and as a cuter, he has been a voice -- -- as a veteran, he has been a voice. we are so glad our country will have a person of character and integrity as our next secretary of state. we wish him well in his new role. yesterday afternoon i received
his letter resigning his senate seat. i now have the responsibility to find so to fill the vacancy and appoint someone to serve as senator and in around. -- senator interim. june 25 is the date for the special election. today i have the privilege and personal pleasure to appoint mo cowan as the interim until the special election. he has been a friend and colleague -- excuse me, professional colleague and friend for a very long time. he served administration as both chief of staff and chief legal counsel. he came to public service from the boston law firm where he was a partner and business litigation practice. he is a native of north
carolina and a graduate of duke university. he came to massachusetts to attend a law school from which he graduated with his law degree in 1994, and which he now serves as a trustee. mo is a highly respected, public citizen. he did service in the front lines on our efforts to manage through the worst economy in 80 years and build a better and stronger commonwealth for the next generation. it has given him an intimate understanding of the issues we face. in every step, he has brought preparation, perspective, wisdom, sound judgment, and clarity of purpose. it is a private fact now known quickly that he also brought cool. [laughter] that has earned him the respect and trust of people throughout the government, the business community, labor, and have busy groups. he has been an ally to me and to
the people of the commonwealth. i am confident that he will be to the president as well. i know the personal sacrifice of those in public service and i appreciate lending mo to the people the commonwealth a little while longer. it is my honor to to present to you the united states senator designate for massachusetts, mo cowan. [applause] >> thank you, governor. i'm honored and humbled by your action today.
i pledge to you and the people the massachusetts that during this interim period, i will go to work every day with the needs and aspirations of our residents foremost in my mind. i know the people of massachusetts care about jobs, education, a portable, high- quality healthcare. i will work with those interests in mind just as you do every day and administration. i accept this temporary post confident in the knowledge and perspective i have acquired working closely with you and the lieutenant governor. you the commonwealth should be assured that i will go to that nation capital ever mindful of what is important to the people of massachusetts. also, congratulations on john kerry to his confirmation and they can for his years of commitment and service to the people of massachusetts. -- thank him for his years of commitment and service to the people of massachusetts. i aim to continue that work in
the next coming months. because the work is closely aligned with the work governor patrick has been focused on, i worked at the highest level of the administration. as chief legal counsel and chief of staff. in those roles, i have been privileged every day to hear from individuals, advocacy groups so i can better understand and act upon the opportunities and challenges facing our state. i'm confident in my ability to make a positive impact while in they you see -- u.s. senate. i want to help move forward the interest of this great state during this temporary perodiod. i look forward to this honor and service. i will close my remarks by recognizing my family in the front row. my wife stacy, my biggest supporter and my everything.
our sons, miles and grant, my heart and soul. they are with me today. my family means the world to me. i carry their love and support with me into the service knowing that i will go to washington to do right by them as well. i go in the hope that i can make them proud. i would be amiss if i did not acknowledge one of the greatest influences in my life -- my mother. she is in north carolina right now recuperating from her seven year because the surgery, so she is not with us physically, but she is in my heart. today signifies her. she is a child of the segregated south, a single mother to my sisters and me after my father died when i was a teenager, a woman who did not have the opportunity to attend college. but my mother told me days like today where possible. if you work hard and you treat
people with respect, there is very little you cannot achieve in this great nation. these are the lessons that stacy and i try to pass on to our sons today. i want to say thank you to my mother from the bottom of my heart. i hope this is being videotaped so i can show it to her. [laughter] thank you. i look forward to your questions. >> one of the challenges you'll face -- can you see yourself voting for something that would cost the jobs for the state of massachusetts? >> thank you for your question. the question of the sequester is still on the table. i think it has been clear that the president -- the best case scenario is a balanced approach. some spending cuts and some revenue. there has been some revenue and
the most recent legislation, but there is more work to be done. i do not think it is in the best interest to do straight across-the-board cuts. we'll have to look at it low sleep. i'm going to washington -- we will have to look at it closely. i'm going to washington, dc bank if the sequester happens, it will significant impact on massachusetts. >> [inaudible] >> janet, this'll be be a very short political career. >> [inaudible] >> i'm not running for office. >> mo, i asked you about this last week. [inaudible] >> the governor offered me this opportunity yesterday. i was aware some time that i was among the list of candidates. i have been focused since
november on planning my return to the private sector. that is what i have been focused on literally. >> [inaudible] >> there is much to get done. i'm not going down there by myself erie it we have what of the most dynamic and successful exertional caucuses -- i'm not going down there by myself. we have one of the most dynamic and successful caucuses. i will have the benefit of senator kerry's of standing staff both here and in the state massachusetts and in washington, d.c. there might be a learning curve as i find my way around the building. i know i will be met by very experienced staffers who want to make sure that i can help them keep moving the agenda forward. [reporter inaudible]
>> governor patrick has spoken many times about the process. i happen to know that some people suggested that i might be a good candidate for this opportunity once it became clear that might be considered, i recused myself. as i said yesterday, the governor made the offer and i accepted. >> [reporter inaudible] [laughter] >> let me answer the second question first. a small group of people were helping me sort through and bevt candidates. once we settled on mo cowan,
they said for him not to wear his trademark tie. it was not worth the fight. today is about the decision to appoint mo cowan as interim senator. there are were other capable candidates on the list, including congressman frank, all of whom because of how capable they were. it was a difficult choice, but i am confident this is the right choice. indiscernible] ottawa >> our delegation has been consistently strong because of the depth of the people we send. mo is very much in that
tradition. >> [reporter inaudible] cool., i'm no tt that [laughter] what i do see is an affirmation of the american dream. when mo talked about what his mother convey to him of what is possible in this country, i think that is a thing to celebrate in every opportunity we have. audible]rter in on doubl >> wait until it is time for the appointment. >> [reporter inaudible]
we have our first african- american governor. what do you see as the significance? >> you ask whether having a black governor was a goal of mine. yeah. [laughter] i guess a kind of goes with the package. the fact is, we talked about this a little bit last night. the commonwealth and the country is changing. diversity and background and ethnicity and race is deeper and broader than ever. i have known for a long time and have believed for a long time that there is talent in every community in the commonwealth and to the extent that we can reflect that. we encourage little boys and
girls of color or who are poor imagine what it would be like to serve the public in these ways. i think it is a great way. >> would you say that the private sector is promoting people of color as well? >> we promote equal opportunity for everyone. i came to massachusetts 22 years ago for an opportunity. everyday i have been in massachusetts, i have had the opportunity to grow personally and professionally. i met my wife here. we started a family. we built a home here. the commonwealth is an opportunity for everyone. i'm proud to be standing before you today and following in the senator's footsteps. i suspect that the reason i'm
standing here is not because i am a person of color, african- american. as a governor has indicated, he has confidence in the job he is sending me to do. no matter where you are or where you're going, understand that you are better than no one, but you can be everyone's equal. >> [reporter inaudible] [laughter] >> just wishing and hoping? no. >> you did say you wanted to go back into the private sector. >> yes, and i will. probably around june 26. [laughter]
you know my rationale and reasoning for that in the front row there. that is what i intend to do. mentionedmass i massachusetts was a land of opportunity for me here and there is greater calling than to give back to a state that has given so much to me. it is a little bit more of a sacrifice for my family, but a worthy sacrifice. it'll give me a chance to send me out there and work on important issues that we have been working on for the last six plus years in this administration. it has been great. it is an honor. i would gladly put off my time in the private sector for this kind of opportunity. >> [reporter inaudible] >> great question. after i leave you folks today, i will have some conversations with secretary kerry's staff.
probably in the next day or so or early next week, we will head down and get to work. >> [reporter inaudible] >> be careful. that is a great question. the day i got married was the day i realized i was the luckiest man in the world. the day our sons were born, i realize what true, unconditional love meant. today is a tremendous honor for me as a massachusetts resident, u.s. citizen, and my mother's son. >> senator, do you expect that -- [inaudible] > >> great question.
i do not think we will differ that much. this is a temporary period to continue their work that senator kerry and his staff has been doing. those are the issues we have been working on all these years. there will not be any daylight there at all. there is no need. senator kerry has a post working relationship with governor patrick. you can expect me to do the same thing. >> [reporter inaudible] >> i would tell voters that they should have confidence that i will work on their behalf on the issues that are most important to them. the voters will decide who will take the seat, keepsake, and does the work hundred and 26. wo keeps it, and does their rk on jujne 26.
>> [reporter inaudible] >> as i said, this is a temporary assignment. we will keep this work going. it is the work that matters to massachusetts. it is a work that i will do. thank you. >> [reporter inaudible] >> i'm not even sure who else is on the list, except i know there are dynamic folks, including many you have reported on. i'm deeply honored from that list of people, the governor selected me. thank you. >> [reporter inaudible]
at 8 p.m. eastern on c-span, the judiciary meeting on preventing gun violence. there is testimony from the nra ceo and a statement from former congresswoman, gabrielle giffords. on c-span two, the bipartisan immigration proposal. on c-span3, i look at us relations with israel and prospects for a peace agreement with the palestinians. [applause] spokeernor martin o'malley at his plans for transportation and job creation. ery, very much. mr. speaker, mr. president, distinguished minority leaders,
lieutenant brown, governor hughes, attorney general gensler, colleagues and city colleagues, mayor vincent gray from our neighbors and new columbia. [laughter] ambassadors, members of fema of these united states. [applause] and the men and women of the maryland general assembly, there is more that unites us than divides us.
this year, one of those things is the mighty, mighty baltimore ravens. [cheers and applause] my goodness. also bipartisan agreement. look, all of us are familiar with the ravens story, but their are also a number of remarkable people who are with us. i want to share a few of their stories with all of you. first,first, one of our nation 's leading minds and most prominent advocates of science, technology, and engineering, math and education, some of you
know them as a member of the school state board. later this week president obama will be awarding him the national medal of science for his achievement in physics. dr. james gates. [applause] two years ago, and that just two years ago, this woman has turned around a workplace into a full- time job. ice in carolineanci county and melissa jones harris. [applause]
within the heart of every individual is a spirit and a dignity that yearns to be recognized. 12 months ago outside, the officially recognized for the first time in 380 years, the people in a ceremony that none of us will soon forget. please welcome the tribe. [applause] thank you for being here. whoe also joined by someone found himself doing the job of a city manager. when his own home was flooded, he set aside his personal needs
an extended her day and night to help the families in the cities through the crisis -. mayor p.j. maoyyor? [applause] my fellow marylanders, the story of dr. gates, the story of janice and melissa, the people, the mayor, the sacrifice of our fallen heroes, these are our stories, the stories of courage and her samaritans. it is a tremendous honor to serve the people of maryland with all of you. faced with adversity of the national recession, the people of our state did not make excuses.
instead they started businesses. they enrolled in night school and made difficult decisions around the kitchen table about how to do more for their children. they volunteered at churches, synagogues, mosques. they pulled their neighbors. what we have experienced together over these last several years, what we have shared with one another was not in denial or fear, nor was it merely hope. it was belief. it was belief in the dignity of every individual. are believed to advance the common good and the understanding that we are -- our believed to advance the common good and the understanding that we are in this together. progress is a choice. job creation is a choice. whether we give our children a
future of more or a future of less, this is also a choice. story is one of better choices and better results. no one state can say that they aren't number one in education five years in a row, number one and holding down college tuition, number one and innovation and entrepreneurship, number one in human capacity, no one -- number one and access of healthcare regardless of -- number one and businesses owned by women, number one and medium income, and we are not done yet. [applause]
as we emerge, as we emerge and we still have a long way to go, but as we emerge from the toughest economic times, the state of our state is strong and we are growing stronger still. [applause] none of this, none of this happened by chance. many of you have passed tough votes to make it happen. remember seven years ago? we started following the same math approach that created our federal deficits at the national level. democrats and republicans alike in this very chamber had voted to cut taxes for millionaires and to increase state spending
without paying for either one. the result? $1.7 billion dollar deficit. that is how it works. it is failing to deliver results. underperforming schools, tuition hikes, rising in crime outside of baltimore. in 2007, together we started making that her choices. we cut spending growth, we had a penny to the sales tax to improve our children's education. we made our tax code more progressive and fair. we put concrete acts and to close our. when the national recession hit , wiping jobs and revenue across the country, including here, other states try to find prosperity. they found that this only made
things worse. laying off police officers, typewriters, teachers. hiking up -- police officers, firefighters, natures. -- teachers. they are hoping that somehow it would trickle down to the rest of us. in maryland, we made better choices. we made government more efficient and effective. for the first time we started sending public goals with deadlines. weekly performances to make government more effect if, make it work. make government smaller. we strengthened our rennie date and and protected our aaa on rating. -- we strengthened our rainy da y funds and protected our aaa rating.
we reduced waiting times for businesses. we advanced public and private partnerships that have created thousands of jobs. we put real-time information of the people's government and to the people opposing has by posting information on the internet -- into the people's hands by posting information on the internet. we cut spending more than any administration in modern history. we recognize that diversity is our greatest range. we move forward to it the most and issues goal in america from empowering women and minority owned businesses and this year for the first time ever, we have exceeded that goal. [applause]
knowing we could not cut our way to prosperity, we have record cuts with modern investments. investments in the priorities that create jobs and expand opportunity, educating, innovating, and building for better economic future. better choices, better results. the proof is in our best. -- the proof is our progress. progress in helping neighbors transition from welfare to work. 12,000 just last year. jobs, medium and small, to create more jobs. together, law-enforcement officers and firefighters, we are driving down crime, homicide, all to historic lows. we are doing more than any other state to hold on the
costs of tuition so more families can afford to their children to college. we are helping more families to save their homes from foreclosure. we are reducing infant mortality to record lows. we are feeding hundreds of thousands of nearly children who would otherwise go hungry. we are doing more than ever before to shelter the homeless. we are helping neighbors free themselves from the despair of substance abuse. we are moving record cargo through our fourth and record passengers through baltimore washington are good marshall airport. -- thurgood marshall airport. we are reviving our native oyster and improving the waters of our bay.
and we have record high student achievement and record high graduation rates and closing the gap in ap scores. this is where you can clap for not only 1, 2, 3, four, but five years in a row the number one best public schools in our nation. [applause] these are the choices, these are the choices that we have already made. now are the choices ahead of us. job creation must be our top priority always.
we are recovering jobs faster than any other state in our region, there are still to develop many moms and dads who are out of work and searching for work. this year's budget is a job budget. we need to rebuild roads, bridges, homes, affordable housing units, clean water infrastructure, and other forward-looking projects with your help. it law-enforcement jobs throughout our state. it supports over 100,000 jobs educating our children. we want to improve public education and to continue to build new schools. it accelerates the transition from chocks and textbooks in our classrooms with ipads and smart boards and 21st century digital learning tools. your vote will accelerate those innovations. once again, it holds down the
costs of college tuition. this is only possible with fiscal responsibility and a balanced approach. the budget before you saves the guidelines. it increases our rainy day funds and our cash reserves. it protects our aaa rating. it brings our total spending cuts to 3.8 million dollars over the life of this administration. these are the choices that enable us to invest in a stronger and better future. it is a future that we all prefer for our children. more job creation, more opportunity for a stronger and growing middle class. there are stories with a common theme. we are doing today by an entrepreneur.
he reached out to colleges and professors asking for lab space. 199 turned him down. he went on to invent an inexpensive tool for detecting angry addict and ovarian cancers -- pancreatic and over and cancers. -- and ovarian cancers. he was selected for a top science and engineering prize. he happens to be 15 years old. please welcome jack and his proud mom, jane, who are with us. [applause] we're are also joined by small
business owner, who also happens to be courageous disabled veteran. she moved the business out of her dining room and has tripled her customers. please welcome her. [applause] senator young had occasion to introduce me to this gentleman. i have visited with him in frederick. he started a company called nexus energy homes. they build houses at market prices and get this -- these homes are designed to consume net zero energy. for families, that means electricity bills as low as $3 and $4 a month.
nexus energy homes was named a national home builder of the year. [applause] what do these stories have in common? innovation and entrepreneurship. the united states of commerce i have a maryland one in innovation and entrepreneurship. -- have named maryland number one in innovation and entrepreneurship. marylanders are doing remarkable work -- life science, green tech, information technology, cybersecurity, aerospace and advanced manufacturing -- in these sectors are creating jobs right here in maryland, creating jobs through innovation.
it is not just the responsibility of the private sector. there are things we can do together through the common platform of our state government. we can accelerate innovation. we can attract venture capital. we can move more new technologies and ideas out of our great university labs and into the marketplace where they can create jobs and new opportunities. help the it network and the efforts to advance more creative private public- partnerships. by this year, create a new cyber security tax credit. there is another important thing that we can do this year that would also create jobs.
that is offshore land. moving forward on offshore land. [applause] moving forward with offshore land could make maryland a new regional manufacturing hub for wind turbines. we will create jobs and generate abundant and clean and renewable energy, but only if we choose. mr. speaker, mr. president, members of the general assembly, let's get this done this year, shall we? [applause] ultimately, the greatest asset that we have as you well know is demonstrated by the votes you have cast. maryland has built up one of the most highly skilled workforce of the country.
better choices, better results. the reality is that too many of the new jobs being created in our economy go on field -- go unfulfilled. why? too many people lack the skills to fill them. your vote on a bill will allow us to partner with businesses to put more workers with the skills they need to go kill jobs that are in the highest demand. -- to go into jobs that are in the highest demand. often times, this barrier is the state's own licensing system. in maryland, we can remove those barriers. we have made solid progress in career and technical education at our high schools, but there
is so much more we can do and we must do. lifelong learning is the new reality. it must get our heads go graduates the skills they need for lifelong that you must get our high school graduates the skills they need for lifelong learning. we need an innovative solution. elect motivated high school students work toward the high school diploma and to your associates degree at the same time. we can make this sort of early access to affordable college credit. there is ongoing challenge of college completion. you have met with them. i have met with them. business leaders say we are not producing enough college graduates, especially in
science, technology tom engineering, and math. -- technology, engineering, and math. we must do a better job of getting more of our students through college. [applause] we are seeing the things that were. our community colleges are delivering results. last year they graduated 49% more students than they were five years ago. that is a pretty impressive progress. they have increased reduction. this year i'm asking you to increase their funding so they can do even more. we need to pick up the pace at our four year colleges. here are things we can do together. we can redesign college or ricky lum and more courses that college curriculum -- we can
redesign college regular and more courses. we can rework financial aid so that more students can afford to carry full course loads to complete their degrees on or ahead of time. we can give students more online auctions for earning college credit. we can reach our goals, but we will have to make a better choices if you want better results. there is another action we could take, but so far the consensus has alluded us. we have the worst traffic congestion in the country. [applause] nothing to clap for. [laughter] you all have cast a lot of difficult votes time and time again to move us from the back
of the pack to the front of the pack in some cases. there is no reason why content with having the worst traffic congestion in the country. building a 21st-century transportation network -- we could be creating thousands of jobs to alleviate traffic congestion. we can figure this out together. for every citizen of our state, we can do it now and in this session. we cannot waste money and time sitting in traffic. the most fundamental responsibility of any
government is public safety. it is the passion for improving public safety that drove me into public service. things to the brave work of law enforcement officers and better technology and better strategies, we have driven down violent crime by nearly 25% since 2006. everyday day there is more we must do. we loose far too many american lives to gun violence. who can watch this at images of the last weeks? who can see the pictures of those young faces and honestly say that we are doing enough? lewis and montgomery county joined us in the gallery to write this letter -- " my wife dorothy and i request your
ardent support for comprehensive gun bans and all deadly assault weapons. i'm a 92-year-old veteran of world war ii. i spent four years in service of my beloved country. i believe firmly in our constitution, but i do not leave in the right to own weapons that should only be used by the military." four years ago this assembly took action to protect victims of domestic violence and the threat of guns. this year we need to take further action in a comprehensive way. i ask you to ban the sale of military style assault weapons in maryland. [applause]
i ask you to require a license for the purchase of all handguns, but not hunting rifles. i ask that you help improve mental health treatment and information sharing and to expand innovation. i asked that you invest in security upgrades in our schools. last year, speaking of what works, the people of prince georges county teamed up with their police department to save 31 more lives. in a one-year period of time, rapid deployment, these are things that we can do. they work. they save lives. since 2007, because of your support and vote, we have used forensic dna technology to take 520 murderers, rapists, and
other violent criminals off of our streets. we need to renew our dna law this year because dna technology is a strategy that works. [applause] performance measured police, license plate readings, fingerprint technology, these things work. when these things work and are effective, we should do more of them. when we realize something is not working and is also expensive thomas should stop doing it. the death penalty is expensive and it does not work and we should stop doing it. [applause]
research has shown it is not a good deterrent. it cannot be administered without racial iis. they cost three times as much as locking someone up for life without parole. a cannot be reversed it an innocent person is executed. it is time we replace this with life without parole. all across our ever more closely connected world, the majority of -- in seven countries, iran, iraq, the people's republic of china, north korea, saudi arabia, yemen, and the united states of america. i leave you with these words --
life is an ever evolving story of choice. letting go of things and ways that were in order to reach that for which we have yet to achieve. it is not some random shuffling of the deck. ocess.s an intentional ross pr it calls for the goodness of our own intentions. we here in maryland are called to work at the center of this intentional movement. for every decision that we make , there is a future for cold. -- foretold. jobs, opportunity, public education, public transportation. these are our concerns.
they are also the world's concerns. it comes to this -- do we believe the challenges facing our state and country are things that are happeningto to us or things happening for us? if we believe that they are happening to us, then we are victims. if on the other hand we believe they are evening -- happening for us, then every problem is a means to deeper understanding, greater growth, more security, and more opportunity. let me be specific. we are one of the most affordable states in the country to be impacted by sea level rise. climate change is not an ideological issue anymore than gravity is. it is serious, pure, and simple.
maryland might not be able to change what other people do with respect to climate, but we can use the process of a carbon constrained world as a means to invent a more prosperous future and drive education and industry and jobs and growth. we can act like the heart of a forward moving country whose eyes and ears are open to the world. i believe that all of us here in maryland are truly covered by the shield of his goodness. we need only the goodness to let go of falsehoods, mention this, the shortsightedness of rash and in balanced decisions, the things of our past that no longer serve. once leaving them behind, we will make a new world free from fear and worthy of our chi